Picture: 123RF
Picture: 123RF

Two new stallions, Potala Palace and Pomodoro, have made promising starts to their stud careers and a son of the first-named bids to complete a hat-trick at the Vaal on Thursday.

The horse in question, Russian Prince, has finished more than three lengths ahead of his nearest rival in his last two starts and is favourite to continue his winning run on Thursday afternoon.

Pomodoro, the 2012 Durban July winner, is another sire making a name for himself. His progeny have earned more than R5m this term with his son, Cirillo, winning the CTS 1200 at Kenilworth on Sun Met day.

Marco van Rensburg, who retains the ride on Russian Prince, can expect challenges from three useful rivals in Dewali, Mojito Magic and four-year-old Wonderwall.

Dewali, a son of Var trained by Robbie Sage, hinted that a second win was close at hand and the colt should go well in the hands of title-chasing Muzi Yeni.

Wonderwall returns from a short break, but this inmate of the powerful Sean Tarry stable enters calculations as Thursday’s contest is a drop in class.

However, a runner bookmakers may have overpriced is Mojito Magic, who ran into traffic problems when fourth behind Summer Afternoon on his most recent outing. He’s 7-1 in the ante-post market and even money to finish in the first four — that’s a gift!

Gavin Lerena, who rides Mojito Magic, had a rare blank day at the Vaal course on Tuesday, and strangely has only three booked rides on the 10-race card.

In the second race, Lerena teams up with Alec Laird’s Irish-bred filly, Boutique, who made a pleasing debut at Turffontein earlier in February . The market in this race needs a check as there are a number of first-timers, including a Dynasty filly from Mike de Kock’s stable.

Trainer Lucky Houdalakis did this column a good turn with Seville Orange on Tuesday and his Aussie-bred filly, Josi Di Nero, can open her account by winning the first leg of the Pick 6. The three-year-old ran well from an inside draw here a fortnight ago and is better positioned this time.

Africa’s Sky returns from an absence of more than a year so the main danger to Josi Di Nero could be St John Gray’s runner, Jive Expres, who ran second on debut.

Once again there are some well-bred newcomers, with the Azzie stable introducing Fife, a daughter of Silvano, as well as Mistressofmyfate, a daughter of Master Of My Fate.

Palace Assembly, another of Potala Palace’s progeny with a big shout at Thursday’s meeting, also does duty for the Azzie yard in the third race. Luke Ferraris partnered the three-year-old into a second placing at Turffontein last month and the youngster retains the ride.

Piere Strydom won on Prince Jourdan for trainer Grant Maroun last time out and another victory for the son of Great Britain looks on the cards in the tenth race. The chief threat might be Dorrie Sham’s three-year-old, Moon Warrior.

Selections

1st Race: No Selection

2nd Race: (13) Boutique (1) It Takes Two (2) Without Limits (12) Bold Ellie

3rd Race: (1) Palace Assembly (2) Fairbanks (18) Tom Tom (6) Cape Wilcat

4th Race: (1) Josi Di Nero (16) Jive Express (13) Fife (10) Caftan

5th Race: (9) Face The Fire (8) Refuge (3) Ready To Strike (6) Rocky Path

6th Race: (6) Rings And Things (8) Believe Me (7) Fortuna Doro (14) Serenpidity

7th Race: (15) Gonnafly (5) Cherokee Grey (2) Shortstop (7) Prix Eclips

8th Race: (7) Mojito Magic (1) Russian Prince (6) Dewali (2) Wonderwall

9th Race: (1) Che Bella (3) Frankly (15) Fly North (2) Pink

10th Race: (7) Prince Jourdan (11) Moon Warrior (3) Battle Creek (8) Rebel Renegade